OUR 19-man squad for tomorrow’s Betfred League 1 clash with London Skolars at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm) is what most fans would have expected with Ritchie Hawkyard and Lee Kershaw returning for the suspended Aaron Jones-Bishop and Anthony Bowman.
Gareth Owen and Dave Hewitt were in the 19 for our Coral Challenge Cup tie against Haydock last time out, but they didn’t play. Bowman partnered Adam Brook at half-back and Matty Wilkinson was starting hooker with Jamie Greenwood on the bench.
The 17 tomorrow will come from these:
Bent, Brook, Calland, Davies, Greenwood, Gwaze, Hawkyard, Hewitt, Holmes, Johnson, Joy, Kershaw, Law, Maders, McComb, Owen, Spencer, Whittel, Wilkinson.
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Skolars name the maximum five loan or dual-reg men in their 19 with three from London Broncos and two from Wigan Warriors.
They all played in last week’s 18-18 draw with Keighley Cougars at the New River Stadium; namely full-back Craig Mullen (Wigan), centre Jacob Ogden (Broncos), winger Joe Brown (Wigan), scrum-half James Meadows (Broncos) and loose-forward Dan Hindmarsh (Broncos).
A notable absentee from this 19 is hooker Neil Thorman, who kicked three goals from three attempts as Skolars built an 18-6 half-time lead and then blew it in the second half.
Coach Jermaine Coleman said: “We showed some inexperience at controlling a game when in a winning position, but it was a step forward as a group in terms of desire and commitment.”
Skolars 19: Kuoi-Atmore, Bishay, Brown, Bryan, Caro, Hindmarsh, Lloyd-Jones, Macani, Martin, Mbaraga, Meadows, Mullen, Ogden, Rice, Ross, Scott, Sykes, Wilkinson, Williams.
All but four of these played last week with one of the centre-wing partnerships formed by Iliess Macani and Omari Caro, both London born, both ex-Broncos and ex-Bradford Bulls.
Caro once won a Super League fastest-man race and he scored five tries in one match for the Bulls in 2016 — against Oldham !
Coach Coleman had a 13-year playing career with Gateshead, York, Hunslet, Hemel and Skolars.
In 2016 he led Skolars into the League 1 Super-8s and recorded wins against Barrow and Doncaster in the regular season.
In 2017, Skolars enjoyed a club record eight-game unbeaten run and reached the League One Shield final, in which they were beaten by Hunslet.
So far this year they’ve won one, drawn one and lost one.
Don’t forget that tomorrow is our big Community Day with the launch of Roary’s Pride and the visit of around 150 children from local schools as part of The Oldham Pledge initiative.